Powerco posts 1.6% gain in full-year earnings on customer growth

Operating profit rose to $253.3 million in the 12 months ended March 31.

Powerco, which supplies electricity and gas to 436,000 homes in the central and southern North Island, posted a 1.6% gain in pretax earnings, which it says was driven by strong customer growth and higher electricity volumes.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and changes in the fair value of financial instruments rose to $253.3 million in the 12 months ended March 31, from $249 million a year earlier, the company said in a statement. Revenue increased 2.5% to $457 million. Net profit dropped to $64.4 million from $73.7 million, which it said reflected smaller gains on unrealised valuations of financial instruments.

Chairman John Loughlin described it as a "year of reliable performance" and said Powerco was now looking to the future. "We are planning for and taking the opportunities new technologies present to transform our networks and enable our customers to access the benefits of smart technologies such as electric vehicles, home energy management systems and rooftop solar." It installed its first fast-charging station for electric vehicles owned by a member of the public earlier this year.

Powerco is the second-largest electricity distributor in New Zealand, managing 30,000 kilometres of electricity lines and 6170 kilometres of gas pipes in Taranaki, Wanganui, Rangitikei, Manawatu, Wairarapa, Waikato, Thames and Coromandel.

The company is 58% owned by Australian fund manager QIC and 42% by AMP Capital (New Zealand). It will pay a final dividend of 15.87c  a share and total payments to its owners increased 6.3% to $58.7 million, it said.

Powerco is required to disclose its results because it has $50 million of 6.74% bonds listed on the NZDX market. They were last quoted at a yield of 3.4% or a price per $1 face amount of about $1.05.